DLCO Diffusion Capacity of the lungs for Carbon Monoxide - USMLE Forums
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USMLE Step 2 CK Buzzwords Buzzwords that should ring a bell in USMLE Step 2 CK exam.


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  #1  
Old 06-12-2010
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Lungs DLCO Diffusion Capacity of the lungs for Carbon Monoxide

The DLco can be a nice buzzword in CK exam cases. They usually give it to help us reach a specific diagnosis. Therefore, it's a good idea to know something about it.

It measures the diffusion capacity of the lung of CO. Values less than 75% is considered decreased and values above 120% is considered increased.

Causes of Decreased DLCO:
Then you have to look at the FEV pattern to determine the cause;
  • If you have a restrictive pattern in the FEVs then think of restrictive lung diseases such as fibrosis, pneumonitis, elveolitis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, Bleomycin therapy ...etc
  • If you have an obstructive pattern in the FEVs then think of emphysema.
  • If you neither have a restrictive nor an obstructive pattern (such as the question did not mention about it) then think either pulmonary embolism or pulmonary hypertension.

Causes of Increased DLCO:
This is rarely tested but I mention it here for completion
- the cause is usually an increased pulmonary blood volume examples are; exercise, congestive heart failure, and pulmonary hemorrhage.
- Asthma also may increase the DLCO
- Smoking
- Polycythemia (of course you have more hemoglobin to exchange the CO with the alveolar space)

Another interesting condition is extrathoracic restriction (for example fracture rib or abdominal distension) this will cause a restrictive pattern in the FEVs yet there's normal DLCO
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Old 06-24-2010
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Thank you this is really useful.
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Old 07-27-2010
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thanx a lot this was precise n clear n qit helpful
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Old 07-29-2010
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thanks, it's so complete and perfect
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Old 07-30-2010
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In patient with ankylosing spondylitis .... pt may develop restrictive pattern of lung disease due enthesitis of costochondral joint with normal DLco ....
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Old 05-14-2011
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hey thank you very much
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Old 05-26-2011
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we can also say good pasture syndrome from pulmonary hemorrahge
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Old 08-11-2011
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Thankyou very much nice info.
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Old 10-11-2011
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Chronic bronchitis has normal DLCO, emphysema has decreased DLCO
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Old 06-27-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SHICE View Post
Chronic bronchitis has normal DLCO, emphysema has decreased DLCO
yes, actually the way I remember it is thinking of Chronic bronchitis as a kind of Asthma related pathology...
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Old 08-04-2014
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Default DOUBT : early vs late onset dyspnoea

Hypoxemia occurs early in chronic bronchitis but dyspnoea occurs late and vice versa for emphysema
Can someone please explain why

Thanks
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